President Donald Trump warned Saturday that Democrats are trying to rig the May 12 special election in California’s 25th congressional district between Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith.
Democrats won the seat in 2018, but newly-elected Rep. Katie Hill resigned over a sex scandal. National politicians are weighing in, knowing that the outcome could hold lessons about the election in November.
Last month, Republicans asked California Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend the controversial practice of “ballot harvesting,” arguing that it could aid the spread of coronavirus as party operatives collect ballots door-to-door.
Instead, Newsom declared that California would be a “vote by mail” state. The vast majority of Californians already vote by mail, but now ballots will be sent to every voter, not just those who request mail-in ballots.
CA is now a vote by mail state.
Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov election.
We’ll also provide safe in-person voting options.
The right to vote is foundational to our democracy. No one should be forced to risk their health to exercise that right.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 8, 2020
Republicans complained that the change would make the November election more susceptible to cheating. (Even former President Jimmy Carter warned in 2005 that mail-in voting posed the highest risk of fraud.)
There were, however, several polling places set up for in-person voting, spread evenly throughout the district. Last week, California Democrats complained that “communities of color” were disadvantaged because L.A. County Registrar Deal Logan — a Democrat — had failed to cater for African American and Latino voters.
"…Voting Center placement decisions need to be consistent with our state’s focus on ensuring that every voter has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, register to vote, change their voter registration and more, especially in communities of color." – @MarkJGonzalezLA pic.twitter.com/aNgHYPEuxE
— LA County Democratic Party (@LAdemocrats) May 4, 2020
In response, Logan announced that a new voting center would be set up in Lancaster, as Democrats demanded:
RELEASE: Lancaster Vote Center Available in Second Weekend of Voting for the May 12 Congressional District 25 Special General Electionhttps://t.co/ltUmaG24eX#LAvotes #CD25 #CongressgionalDistrict25 #Lancaster pic.twitter.com/H7AWlwYzFF
— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (@LACountyRRCC) May 8, 2020
Republicans cried foul, claiming that Democrats were panicked about the prospect of losing the seat to Garcia.
And President Trump weighed in, accusing Gov. Newsom of assisting Democrats with a “rigged election”:
Governor @GavinNewsom of California won’t let restaurants, beaches and stores open, but he installs a voting booth system in a highly Democrat area (supposed to be mail in ballots only) because our great candidate, @MikeGarcia2020, is winning by a lot. CA25 Rigged Election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2020
Voting will continue through Tuesday, but the final result may not be known for weeks as ballots are counted.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.